Spruce Up Your Grocery Trolley with These Healthy Additions

HEALTH

Fit out your trolley with these fit and healthy must haves

Think real food and plants!

Hair, skin, nails, the immune system, our joints, our guts, literally everything to do with our body can benefit from a diet that is largely plant based. This is scientifically proven!

The detoxifying effects of the antioxidants and water in plants sets us up for the perfect summer of not only looking great but feeling energetic. This doesn’t mean rushing out and purchasing the newest, most expensive discoveries in superfoods. Some common house-hold food items will do the trick without breaking the bank. Boosting the nutritional value of common food items lays within its preparation. Prep techniques can either make or break a superfood. The goal of eating should be, to boost nutritional content including vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Each one of these vital components of food is deeply impacted by processing. Processing may include applying heat, adding stabilizing or preserving ingredients such as sugar, sodium, acids or artificial preservatives. Each of which extend the shelf life and taste appeal of the food item but reduce its nutritional content.

I am excited to throw you some little life hacks in this blog to really get you going on a nutritional boosting path.

Have you ever thought of putting your mushrooms in the sunlight? Why on earth would you bother doing that! You ask. Well, the sun enhances the vitamin D status of the mushrooms. Mushrooms are in Vitamin D2 form, not active D3. They do need to undergo conversion for use by the body. None the less, a boost in D2 will do some spectacular things for your health. 1-2 hours is a good sun baking timeframe for our meaty friends.

CITRUS HEAVEN

Citrus foods boast a whole lot more than just the vitamin C they are commonly recognized for. The spray you in the face juiciness of citrus contain an array of free radical scavenging antioxidants which have been shown to guard you from a range of disease states such as cancers, age related brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and help you to have beautiful skin. 

Rich colored citrus such as ruby red grapefruit and blood orange offer even greater antioxidant content.

Don’t throw away the good parts!

Closer to the outer edges (around the skin and between each segment) of citrus fruits contain some great benefits and is where most of the nutrients lay. Eating the pith can greatly increase your nutritional benefit and boost the antioxidant profile.

Make them crispy

You can enhance some of the benefits of citrus fruits by drying them in an oven. How?

Preheat oven to 100C, slice oranges, place on an oven tray and bake for 1.5 hours on one side and another 1.5 hours on the other. Keep checking on them to see if they have already gone crispy, you don’t want them to burn! This process brings out some of those lovely antioxidants.

AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY

An old saying but it remains strong in the world of health. For such an accessible food the health benefits of apples are HUGE!  Apples are fantastic appetite controls. They help to regulate blood glucose levels, reduce cholesterol, support intestinal health and reduce the risk of diabetes. Green apples (Granny Smith) are lower in sugar and contain the prebiotic fiber, known as pectin, which helps to support healthy gut bacteria function and development.

DON’T throw away the skin! Like all fruit and vegetables, the most nutritious parts of the apple can be found within or just under the skin. Cutting away the skin could mean losing so many wonderful nutritional benefits such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamin A and C.

Wash them

Be sure to wash your store-bought apples. Supermarkets love to have beautiful, enticing fruit and vegetables, but this often means placing sprays and waxes on them to make them shine and keep them looking beautiful for longer.

SPICE UP YOUR SALADS

As a rule, dark, richer coloured leafy greens pack the greatest nutritional punch in a salad bowl. Rocket adds a digestive component to your salad, with its peppery, slightly bitter taste it kicks your digestive juices into action. Baby spinach oozes with antioxidants, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, K and folic acid, giving you the protective power you need to fight off free radicals and flood you with a boost of energy. These nutrients are also extremely nourishing to the cardiovascular system. Kale is another salad green that rivals rocket and spinach on nutritional punch. Skip the old school iceberg lettuce which carries little more than water and include these superheroes of the salad world. They also make for a far prettier and more interesting salad. As mentioned in the paragraph on mushrooms, vegetables obtain and develop much of their antioxidant properties from sunlight. Salad leaves that are open to the sun such as kale, baby spinach and rocket are given the opportunity to enhance their nutritional profile, more so than tighter more enclosed varieties.

Did you know that the vitamin C found in lemon juice can enhance the absorption of the iron content in spinach? This is great news for vegans and vegetarians as non-heme (non-animal) sources of iron are less easily taken up by the body than their heme counterparts. Adding vitamin C to non-heme sources increases its chances of absorption.

TATOMO TOMATO

Although, greatly recognized for their high lycopene content often related to prostate health, tomatoes have so much more to offer. The carotene that lurks within the beautifully red tomato supports healthy cardiovascular function and prevents skin from sun damage, no wonder they are a mainstay in the Mediterranean diet. Its collagen boosting properties are shown help to repair the skin and slow the ageing process. Once again, the skin is where the money is (nutritional benefits).

Cook them up!

The cooking process increases and activates the tomatoes lycopene potential. Home made spaghetti sauces and baked beans using chopped up tomatoes are a great way to boost the nutrient value of your food.

Keep them out of the fridge

We need those perfect antioxidants to continue to develop long after they have been picked. Refrigerating tomatoes can holt this process and reduce the antioxidant potential of the tomato.

BERRY BONANZA

We all know berries are good for us. They have long been included in the list of superfoods. Why? Berries contain high levels of antioxidants and collagen boosting vitamin C. These, superb inclusions for skin health. But, in a less vein sense, berries are fantastic supports for cardiovascular health.

Look for rich reds and purples. The richer the colour, the greater the nutritional benefit. Some research has shown that the proteins found in milk products reduce the absorption of vitamin C so try to skip the addition of milk. Instead, opt for a non-dairy based milk such as coconut, almond, oat to combine with your smoothie or choose yoghurt varieties utilizing these milk bases.

DIGESTIVE PREPARATION

Brassica vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower should be rich in colour and slightly steamed, not eaten raw.  Research suggests that brassica vegetables can inhibit thyroid function. It is also difficult for some to effectively digest raw brassica vegetables. When prepared properly, brassica vegetables support liver function, contain significant calcium and vitamin K levels and can become a versatile addition to most meals such as cauliflower rice, pizza bases, vegan cheeses, vegetable bakes and much more.

As you can see, boosting the nutritional content of your shopping trolley is easier than ever and can be achieved with common, every day superfoods. Colour and proper preparation is the key to enhancing these nutritional benefits. Happy shopping!

Anti inflammatory Eggplant Curry

Anti inflammatory eggplant curry

Anti inflammatory foods are important to our health and wellbeing as a whole as well as for specific health complaints such as headaches, muscle and joint aches and pains and immune support to name a few.

Curries are a great source of anti inflammatory herbs and spices. Ayurvedic medicine or Indian medicines have been using the spices in curries for many years to address various health conditions.

This Anti inflammatory Eggplant Curry with provide you with a fabulous dose of anti inflammatory support.

Enjoy!

Anti inflammatory Eggplant Curry Recipe

1 large eggplant (multi-vitamin and mineral powerhouse!)
• 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (anti-inflammatory)
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (immune booster and digestion enhancer)
• 1 medium to large onion, sliced finely (immune enhancing, anti-inflammatory, allergy fighting, cholesterol lowering)
• 2 crushed garlic cloves (immune enhancing, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering)
• 2 – 3 cm piece ginger (depending how much you love ginger, me, I go for THREE), peeled and finely chopped (anti-inflammatory goodness!)
• 1 tablespoon curry powder (anti-inflammatory goodness!)
• 1 large diced tomato (Lovely lycopene and vitamin C antioxidants)
• 1 finely chopped green chilli (anti-inflammatory goodness! metabolism boosting)
• 1 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt (these salts contain wonderful minerals that regular table salts do not)
• 1/4 bunch finely chopped coriander (all round awesome herb for almost everything)

 

Preheat your oven to 190C.

Place the eggplant on a medium sized baking sheet. Use a fork to spike the eggplant all over to allow heat to penetrate through. Place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until it feels soft/tender.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool enough to be able to peel and chop the eggplant.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and onion to the oil. Stir until the onion softens and slightly browns, roughly 5 minutes.

Add the pre-prepared tomato, garlic, ginger and curry powder to the saucepan with the onion and cook for a further 1 minute.

Stir in the chopped eggplant and green chilli, and season with salt to taste. Place a lid or appropriate cover over the mix, turn to a higher heat and cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to soak in.

Lift the lid or cover, turn the heat right down to low and cook for a further 5 minutes with the lid off. Garnish with the coriander.

This curry can be served as a side dish or as a dish on its own, possibly with brown basmati rice or quinoa

I served mine with fish, asparagus, roasted capsicum and fish. Random I know, but it was worth it 🙂

Keto Buzz: What is it all about?

The Keto Buzz

The buzz word in the diet realm currently seems to ring ‘Keto’. There are so many FAD diets around and so many that have come and gone over the many years that people have been ‘weight’ conscious. Most diets have their pros and cons and it is evident ‘diet’ is not a one size fits all protocol and the ‘Keto diet’ is no exception.

So, what is it?

There are several forms of the ketogenic diet geared towards different people including: Standard ketogenic diet: Very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat. Cyclical ketogenic diet: Phases of higher-carb reloads with majority ketogenic days (5:2). Targeted ketogenic diet: Carbs are consumed around workout times. High-protein ketogenic diet: The standard Keto diet with additional protein.

The most common however, is the standard very low-carb, high fat concept, where protein is left at a moderate intake. The diet is time consuming and leaves people open to obsessing over their ‘macros’. Counting total carbohydrate intake is the aim of the game. You can see how this may become problematic for those with eating disorders or addictive behaviours.

The goal is less than 50g of net (total minus fibre) carbs per day. In doing this, you are working towards the primary target of regearing where energy is derived from. Therefore, as glucose is our main energy source on a normal diet, our bodies will begin to utilise or create other energy sources, ‘ketones’ which are produced in the liver from the breakdown of fatty acids, essentially accelerating fat metabolism and weightloss.

Possible Benefits

– Ketosis has beneficial effects on blood sugar and may, benefit ‘some’ of the diabetic community along with other related blood sugar dysregulation conditions.

– It has been shown to benefit some with neurological disorders (epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s).

– It has shown benefits in sustaining healthy blood lipid levels for cholesterol control (when the correct fats are also consumed)

– Supports happy hormone levels and other hormonal related conditions

– Effective for some who wish to lose weight, if done properly.

On the flipside if poorly executed or with a lack of professional guidance, nutritional deficiencies can arise, hypoglycaemia may present, a temporary energy loss may leave one unable to live a normal life and too much weightloss may present.

What I suggest… Do lots of reading and research before you jump into any diet regime and seek the guidance of an extensively trained professional who can educate, support, guide and monitor your health.

Dietary Fats are Healthy!

Dietician Or Nutritionist Dietary Fats

Well to a certain extent. When we consider the various types of dietary fats that present within our diets, unfortunately for the Western Diet, saturated fats or ‘bad’ fats and omega 6 are in higher proportion than beneficial, anti-inflammatory omega 3 healthy fats. Omega 6 another dietary fat converts to what is called arachidonic acid in the body, this is pro-inflammatory and disease promoting. Saturated fats are found in most packed and processed foods, take away foods, fried foods, some cooking oils, meats and dairy.

HEALTH SATURATED FATS

In small amounts stable saturated fats have shown some benefits to our health, such as those found in coconut oil (caprylic acid and lauric acid a medium chain triglyceride). The fats in coconut oil do not burn or rancid when cooked and are therefore more stable for cooking purposes.

COCONUT OIL

Although the jury is still out on the health benefits of coconut oil, lauric acids has shown some promise for enhancing metabolism, acting as a direct energy source due to their immediate absorption, improving skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and cradle cap on babies. It is considered to assist in anti-bacterial and anti-viral processes.

CAPRYLIC AICD

Caprylic acid, another saturated fatty acid found in smaller amounts in coconut oil has also shown promise for anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits.

PALM OILS

Other palm oils on the other hand are less stable releasing free radicals, particularly when heated and are said to be pro-inflammatory and disease promoting. Because they are cheap, they are used in many consumable items. Palm oils may promote heart health risks, weight gain, elevations in cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaques.

RED MEAT & SATURATED FATS

The saturated dietary fats found in red meats can also cause concern for cholesterol and heart health. Limited intake of fatty red meats should be limited. Choose lean cuts of meats and extra lean meats such as kangaroo and venison. Aim for 1-2 red meat free days per week. You can achieve iron and protein status through a range of different foods. Speak with your nutrition professional on how to meet this goal without the additional saturated fats.

HEALTHY FATS BENEFITS

Healthy fats form an essential part of a healthy, anti-inflammatory and metabolism enhancing diet. This is because healthy fats have a structural and protective role in the cells of our body, organs, hormones and tissues including our hair, skin and nails. Healthy fats help quash the free radicals that are produced through normal metabolic processes and through our environmental and dietary influences.

OMEGA-3 (Essential Fatty Acids)

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be low in most Western diets. These polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and some oils. Omega 3s support reductions in pain and inflammation, improvements in mood, anxiety and depression, regulate blood glucose levels, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, reduce cholesterol, and oxidative damage and much more. Fats form part of our cellular membranes, particularly in the brain. To protect cognitive function, healthy fats are essential. Unfortunately, these fatty acids are not stable at high temperatures and therefore lose their nutritious nature if over-heated.

MONOUNSATURATED

Monounsaturated fats such as those found in avocados, some oils, nuts and seeds are also important protectors. These fats, like omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to assist in reducing inflammation, depression, insulin resistance, ADHD symptoms and preventing heart disease. Not to mention their sources are delicious!

One could go on and on about the benefits and pitfalls of different types of  dietary fats but one thing we can be clear on is we need them in our diet in sufficient amounts for various body functions.

Minty Cauliflower Fried Rice

Minty Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower is extremely versatile and can be swapped out for cheeses in baked dishes or for rice.

Not to mention it is extremely nutritious!

Minty Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe

1 head large cauliflower chopped in a blender or grated to resemble rice.

I added ¼ cup of mint into the blender but you can shred it and mix it through if grating.

1 cup thinly chopped green spring onion

2 cups mixed green, yellow, orange and red capsicumClinical Dietitian

250g roasted pumpkin cubed (optional)

½ head broccoli broken up into tiny florets

4 button mushrooms or other Asian mushrooms to mix it up

4 garlic cloves diced

1 onion diced

1 chicken breast roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper and cubed after being cooked.

2 tbsp. good quality tamarind soy sauce.

5 anchovies chopped up (you don’t taste them but they are optional)

Black pepper to taste

A handful of pepitas

Handful of cashews

 

Add garlic, onion, caClinical Nutritionpsicum, mushrooms into a wok with 2 tbsp olive oil and sauté until fragrant.

Add cauliflower mint rice mixture and mix through until evenly distributed. 

Add in broccoli, diced chicken, anchovies and pepper. Stir through.

Add in the tamarind soy sauce and stir through until the whole batch turns a slightly brownish colour, as pictured.

Serve in a shallow bowl topped with pepitas and cashews.

 

 

Clean Orange, Poppy Seed & Pistachio Muffins

Orange poppy seed pistachio muffins

We all love muffins and they are often a convenient and yummy snack option. However, they often come with a hefty, less than nutritious caloric profile and this can impact both our waistline and overall health. Thankfully, there are raw ingredient options available to us to boost their nutritional profile and reduce poor quality calories.

Clean Orange, Poppy Seed & Pistachio Muffins

 

Ingredients

 

100g pistachios (unsalted), & an extra 1 ½ tbsp. chopped (for decoration).

100g almond flour/meal (if you don’t have any on hand, put 50g almonds in a food processor and grind down)

50g coconut flour.

60g rapadura sugar (or xylitol if you are looking to cut down on sugar)

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch sea salt or Celtic salt or Himalayan salt

Zest of one orange + juice of 1 fresh orange.

1 tbsp. poppy seeds, plus 1 tsp additional for decoration

60mL almond milk

4 lightly beaten large eggs

3 tbsp. walnut, hazelnut or almond oil (or olive oil if neither are available to you)

1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 

Method

 

Preheat oven to 180⁰C. Line 10 spaces of a muffin tin with muffin cases.

Place 100g of pistachios in a food processor or blender and process until fine.

Place ground pistachios into a large bowl and stir in other dry ingredients as well as the orange zest.

Squeeze orange juice into a measuring cup and add almond milk up to 175mL. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and add eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir until smooth.

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cases, top with designated decorative pistachios and poppy seeds.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until a fork or skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool.

Transfer into an airtight container for storage in the fridge or freezer if left for more than 4 days.

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